The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
March - April 2007
Pittsburg hills face new attacks
On Jan. 16 the Pittsburg City Council voted to expand the city's sphere of influence to coincide with its Urban Limit Line (ULL). This is the first step towards annexing these hill lands to the city and covering them with development.
Development has already consumed almost all the city's lowlands, and the city has committed most of the hills west of the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station to development as well. In a few years those hills will be covered in houses.
The hills south of the city are not included in its boundaries, but Measure P, passed by voters in November 2005, created a Pittsburg Urban Limit Line (ULL) which expanded potential development to the unincorporated areas west of Bailey Road and around Kirker Pass Road. The expansion includes the 607-acre Faria property and the 161-acre Montreux property, both owned by the Seeno Companies (developers), as well as the Thomas Ranch property. Measure P was crafted and sponsored by the developers. It passed, by a close vote, only, we believe, because its proponents misled voters to believe that it would protect the land rather than opening it for development.
Full development of these lands could place as many as 1,600 houses in the hills between Pittsburg and Concord. Development of the Faria property could mar the major ridgeline between East and Central County, even as Concord is working to protect its side of the ridge at the Naval Weapons Station. Houses could be visible from as far away as Antioch, Walnut Creek, and Martinez, and as many as 13,000 daily car trips would be added to our already congested streets and highways.
The Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, Save Mount Diablo, and Save Our Hills (an organization of concerned Pittsburg residents) are still working to control development in these areas. In August, Seeno brazenly asked the City Council to enter into development agreements for these lands, but we turned out a large crowd of concerned Pittsburgers, and the Council tabled the proposals.
We pointed out that the January resolution is of questionable legality under the California Environmental Quality Act because it includes a "negative declaration" denying that the decision would have significant environmental impacts.
The adopted resolution does include a few potentially positive points. It creates policies to create greenbelts along the border and to prevent development on ridgelines in the Kirker Pass Road area. These provisions need to be analyzed to determine if they will be effective or are mere window dressing.
Pittsburg also is moving forward with a so-called hillside-protection ordinance, but the current version doesn't really provide true protection.
Come to the public workshop on Mon., March 19, at 5:30 pm at the City Hall Chambers, 65 Civic Ave. Speak up for more opportunities for the public to be involved in drafting a strong ordinance.
To join in the Club's efforts to protect the Pittsburg Hills, contact or call (510) 848-0800, ext. 306
© 2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
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